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Us 25, Mr. Perez 22, Alexander 16, America 10, Nlrb 9, United States 8, Harkin 7, Perez 7, Maryland 7, Schumer 6, Marcus 6, Obama 6, Gina Mccarthy 6, Pierce 5, Epa 5, Mr. Griffin 5, Pennsylvania 5, Buffalo 5, Washington 5, Tom Perez 4,
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  CSPAN    Tonight From Washington    News/Business. News.  

    May 16, 2013
    8:00 - 11:00pm EDT  

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[inaudible conversations] the opposition stems from mr. peres' role in the justice
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department decision to abstain from a whistleblower case against st. paul minnesota in exchange for the municipality dropping its supreme court housing discrimination case. his nomination now heads to the full senate. >> the senate committee on health education labor and pension will please come to order and the executive session. today we are meeting at this time to consider the nomination of thomas e. perez to be secretary of labor. i will have an opening statement and i will yield to senator alexander.
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as our country continues to move down the road to economic recovery now more than ever we need strong leadership of the department of labor to help strengthen our effort to recover and build a strong revitalize american middle class. without question ,-com,-com ma tom perez has the knowledge and experience needed to guide this critically important agency. through his professional experiences, especially his work as secretary of the maryland department of labor licensing and regulation he has developed strong policy efforts in the many important issues for american workers and businesses that come before the department of labor every day. he also clearly has the management skills to run a large federal agency effectively. rasmussen partly tom perez brings people together to make truck was uneven controversial issues without burning any bridges. he knows how to run the department of labor. beyond the strong professional qualifications it is clear that tom perez' personal character
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makes him the right choice to hold this important position. mr. perez has dedicated his life to making sure that every american has a fair opportunity to pursue the american dream. as the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the of the department of justice, he has held more americans achieve the dream of homeownership through his unprecedented efforts to prevent residential lending discrimination. he has helped ensure that people with disabilities have the choice to live in their own homes and communities rather than in institutional settings and he received the reports and services to make this independent living possible. ps ... apartments efforts to protect the employment rights of servicemembers so that our men and women in uniform can return to their jobs and support their families after serving our country. tom perez is passionate about these issues and passionate about justice and about fairness. we need this kind of passion and this kind of vision at the helm
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of the department of labor. mr. perez has been as open and above lord as he could possibly be for this committee. he is met with any member personally who requested a meeting. he appeared before the committee in a public hearing. he has answered more than 200 written questions. he has bent over backwards to respond to any and all concerns raised about his work at the department of justice. this administration has also been extraordinarily accommodating to my colleagues especially to their concerns about mr. perez' handling of the cases while at the department of justice. the administration is produced thousands of documents and arrange for the interview of government employees and facilitated almost unprecedented levels of the exposure to alleviate any concerns. as chairman i have also tried to be as accommodating as possible, joining in request for documents that i quite frankly thought were necessary.
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and also postponing this executive session for two weeks at the request of our ranking member to provide members additional time for consideration. i was disappointed that after that, we were then forced to delay yet again for an additional week due to the invocation of an obscure procedural senate rule. again, that delay was not a legitimate effort to ensure that this committee could do its duty to consider the nomination that was just delayed for delay's sake hate this point of obstructionism is extremely disturbing in a big part of why the people of this nation are so frustrated with the senate right now. when all of the attacks and political tactics are set aside all of this lengthy consideration process has revealed is that mr. perez acted at all times as quickly and appropriately to advance the interests of the united states government. outside experts have confirmed
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this so i would like to submit for the record letters and statements from several legal experts and experts in the false claims act confirming that mr. perez' handling of the cases were both ethical and appropriate. so i hope that all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle throughout this investigation all the information made public can join us in supporting this important nomination. i will now turn to senator alexander for his opening remarks. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. chairman and thank you for holding this markup for
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his testimony has been contradicted by testimony of other witnesses in contemporaneous documents. in short it seems to me mr. perez is not discharge the
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duty to the government to collect the money he owes taxpayers and he does not discharge his duties to protect the whistleblower who was left hanging in the wind and at the same time he was manipulating the legal process to remove the case from the supreme court in a way that seems inappropriate for the assistant attorney general of the united states. mr. perez use the private e-mail accounts delete nonpublic information that is currently being investigated. senator burris made a request. he may want to talk about that. it involves e-mails sent from mr. perez personally to a "new york times" reporter 15 minutes after the settlement was reached between the department of justice and countrywide concerning lending discrimination allegation. in my written questions to mr. perez following his confirmation hearing i asked specific questions about whether he personally solicited support for his nomination from companies he might regulate if he were to be the secretary.
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he has yet to provide a direct answer to that simple question. this is particularly concerning in light of the current abuses of power we are seeing in this administration of the same sort. on may 8 chairman issa and ranking member cummings democratic ranking member, and send a request to mr. perez to produce all of his personal e-mails regarding the official department of justice business here at on may 14 the department gave house gatehouse oversight committee staff the opportunity to review the date and recipient of the e-mails however the text of the e-mail was redacted and the subject line. producing completely redacted e-mails can't be considered responsive. the department of justice inspector general recently published a detailed report to discuss problems of the voting rights section. we talked about a politically charged atmosphere and polarization and mr. perez administered that since 2009. hot about unauthorized luger of
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confidential information about partisan political commentary. it specifically criticize the management of the department. i requested the department of justice inspector general to provide transcripts of specific fortunes of interviews beten mr. perez andthe inspector general and we were provided with significantly da portions of those transcripts so significant that i have asked for more clarification. i understand that electns have consequences and that president is entitled to fail to have cabinet members nominated and considered by the senate within a reasonable period of time. however the senate has duty of advising -- advice and consent and we would not be fulfillinfulfillin g our constitutional duties if we rush to vote on mr. perez. the president knew when he appointed mr. perez the congress was investigated his involvement into brokering the quid pro-"deal in st. paul minnesota. now one other thing.
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in terms of whether there has been delay, i would include with the record if my main mr. chairman article from "the washington post" on march 18. this was six or seven weeks ago that said that the senate is moving more rapidly on president obama's second term nominee confirmation than it did on the last three presidents and according to the congressional research service it took an average of 55 days to push the second term nominees, 68 days for clinton's and 56 days for ronald reagan. mr. perez has been before the senate for 60 days since the announcement. that seemed to me to be a reasonable time to ask that we consider the information that we have asked for and if i were to apply a personal standard i can remember the case of a very well qualified governor who was nominated to the united states secretary of education 21 years ago and it took 87 days for this
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committee and the senate to consider his impressive qualifications to be secretary of education. so in light of what we do and although we don't know yet i believe it's -- and i will be voting no. thank you mr. chair. >> mr. chairman? >> senator mikulski. >> just a point for a couple of minutes because i'm the only one here that -- [inaudible] i'm the only one here who actually knows mr. perez, if i might. mr. chairman and colleagues i really hope that we move the perez nomination to the full senate and let the full senate decide whether he has the qualifications necessary to be the department of labor during the time when our country is in tremendous economic transition. i have known mr. perez for a substantial amount of time. there are many marylanders who
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are often nominated to two positions in this government but i know tom as a community leader. i know tom as a county councilman, as a leader of a state agency charged with actually running labor and of course at the justice department. i just want to say this. we would have a fine nominee. first of all he has a compelling personal narrative. the second generation of immigrant families, he brings all of those wonderful values. he actually believes an american he actually believes in america's promise and the department of labor would be part of the opportunity to help people in the middle class to either stay there or to do better. second, it's not what barbara mikulski says about how he stood up to predatory lenders and how he functioned in terms of ensuring all the fair labor practices. i would like to conclude my
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remarks with the maryland chamber of commerce. the maryland chamber of commerce is they typical maryland chamber of commerce. they are absolutely 100% chamber of commerce and they said this. mr. perez proved himself to be a pragmatic public official who was willing to bring different sources together. the maryland chamber had the opportunity to work with perez on an array of issues of importance to employers in the business community in maryland. from unemployment to housing foreclosure crisis, regulation of financial institutions, worker safety and professional licensing. despite the differences of opinion mr. perez was always willing to allow all parties to be heard. the do we found him to be fair and collaborative. we at the chamber believe that our experience with him in maryland would bode well for the nation. i hope we move the nomination forward. >> thank you senator mikulski.
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further debate? >> mr. chairman? i can count so i know the outcome of this election but i feel compelled to just note from my colleagues that when mr. perezwasfor his nfmaon hearing, i probed a series of questions that dealt with the disclosure of np information, disclosure that i thought was rather significant because it potentially could move marketing and is the ranking member said, tell with the decision accompanied by the name of countrywide. a decision that came through late one night at 10:45 p.m., and exchange on a private e-mail with "the new york times" reporter at 11:00 p.m., 15 minutes after the decision and the day before and he public
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disclosure by the justice department. now, in many cases i would walk away with a conclusion from that but i did not stop there. i sent a letter to the public affairs department at the department of justice and let me just recap partially what i said in the letter. during the recent senate hearing assistant attorney general thomas perez was questioned regarding his use of personal e-mails to disclose nonpublic information. the e-mail in question read and i quote we just closed deal 50 minutes ago and will announce tomorrow at 3:00 unquote. mr. perez stated, and i quote i don't believe that was nonpublic information. immediate advisories often go out the day before, so i asked the office of public affairs to provide a copy of the statement announcing the countrywide settlement dealing with the information date and time and if it's release information on any public or private disclosures,
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press prior to the official countrywide settlement announcement including the substance time and date of that contact. a detailed description and timeline from the office of public affairs participation in the countrywide settlement announcement before during and after the settlement. furthermore, the office of public affairs was aware that mr. perez knew the outcome before the other media. my last paragraphs of this. as a general matter please inform my office as to whether or not this is a common practice with the department of justice. decisions are communicated through personal e-mails or other back channel processes before official announcements. it is indeed common practice, as it is indeed, practices and insinuated by the mr. perez and his hearing and i would like to ask the office of public affairs to describe three other instances where this has happened at the department of justice. mr. chairman that warms in tion
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hearing. as of today i've not gotten a response from the office of public affairs so there are legitimate things that are still out there. i personally don't believe disclosing nonpubliciation through a "new york times" a "new yk minutes after a decision has been made at 11:00 at night is one ethical or appropriate. therefore today i will vote against this nomination and hope that my colleagues will understand the seriousness of any disclosure of nonpublic information that might have an effect on moving equity markets like this could. i think the chairman. >> i think the senator. i am constrained to respond and rebut his contention. as we looked at this and my this. looked at it and wn
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in fact the department of justice office of public affairs had already provided notice to reporters that an announcement regarding the countryside investigation would occur the following day, something routine with respect to high-profile cases. and when mr. perez responded to reporters in craig he confirmed with the office of public affairs have been telling the press that a press conference would occur the next day without providing substantive information so let's get this clear. on december the 20th, the office of public affairs alerted reporters to the upcoming announcement for scheduling purposes. news that the likely -- appeared in articles. that tape lindbergh released a story deadline. rank of america close to settling fair lending program to country wide and a deal between bank of america and they department justice could be announced as early as this week
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end quote. the story said the parties were actively in negotiations on the verge of a claim. the department of justice declined to comment on that story. that night december 20 and "new york times" reporter e-mailed perez about the likely settlement. because mr. perez understood that the office of public affairs have begun to informrept would be made the next day, in an e-mail sent at 11:13 p.m. perez responded that the dod press officer quote was supposed to call that reporter late today and confirmed in announcement would occur. mr. perez did not provide or communicate to the reporter any substantive information about the content of the settlement or any other details. "the new york times" reporter did not publish the news article about the matter prior to the press conference regarding the settlement. at 10:23 a.m. on december the
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21st, 2011 bank of america notified the national community advisory council that a settlement for more than $3 billion would be announced making public the amount of the settlement. and proximallproximall y named the official dog press advisory went out. those are the facts. is there further debate on this nomination? if there is no further debate on the nomination, then all those in favor of reporting this nomination favorably on the senate floor will say aye. a roll call vote has been requested. the clerk will please call the roll. [roll call] [roll call]
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[roll call] >> no by proxy. >> no by proxy. no by proxy. no by proxy. [roll call] >> do i hear if oat? [laughter] do i hear a vote.
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say that again. there've been 12 i cosan 10 nays the nomination of tom perez to be the new secretary of labor is reported favorably before this committee. the acting commissioner steve miller
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who announced his resignation wednesday is expected to testify. live coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. here on c-span3, we will bring you a house hearing on the efforts to combat area worldwide. live coverage of the house borne affairs subcommittee on lovell health begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern. >> the hearing of labor and pension will please come to order. the hearing this morning is on the nomination for the national labor relations board. over 75 years ago congress enacted the national labor relations act. guaranteeing american workers the right to form and join the union and bargain for a better life. to promote union and nonunion workers alike the act divides essential protections and gives workers a voice and the ability to join together and speak up for fair wages and good in the pits and safe working conditions. these rights are one of the pillars of our middle-class and the people that do the real work in this country to see the benefits when our economy grows.
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the national labor relations board is a garden of these fundamental rights. few people understand or realize the workers themselves cannot enforce the national labour relations act. the board is the only place workers can go if they have been treated unfairly and denied their basic protections that the law provides. thus the board plays a critical role in vindicating workers rights. for the past 10 years that an alert bee has secured opportunities to reinstate 22,544 employees who were unfairly fired. it is also recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of workers whose rights were violated. the board is just as essential for nation's employers. if an employer for example is the victim of a wildcat strike or is in negotiation with the union and can't get the union to bargain in good faith, the board is their only recourse.
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andhe andlpedumerous businesses resolve disputes efficiently. because this agency is absolutely critical to our economy and our country and our middle-class, it's deeply disappointing to see what has happened to the board in recent years including the relentless political attacks by the dedicated public service who work on the lord. to put it plainly there are clearly many elected officials are actively trying to shut the end i'll are beat down. in 2011 when the agency needed a new board member to satisfy quorum requirements instead of working together to confirm a bipartisan for wyatt well qualified nominees some senators publicly announced their intention to block any nomination to the nlrb. in a well publicized statement one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said he would filibuster even if this caused the agency to cease functioning altogether and t. said quote and a large bee as
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inoperable could be considered progress. it didn't used to be this way. at least understand and acknowledge that members of the board have differing views and differing ideological perspectives but all of us agree that the board itself functions for the good of our country and the good of our economy but in recent years that shared understanding his broken down. the board does not have five senate confirmed members in a decade, in a decade. in my view that speaks a lot more perhaps to our dysfunction here in the senate than anything the board itself has done. what most concerns me is how this political game playing is impacting it the everyday lives of working people across america. whether it it is the realist filibustering of nominees from having a quorum or at the ceaseless litigation and delays that denies justice these attacks on the board have real consequences for real people.
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the litigations run to present a promise recess appointments for example is impacted countless working americans. real people. a former printing press from illinois. marcus worked markets work for printing company for nine years serving as union steward for most of his time there. in 2007 the company was about to be sold the owners cracked down hard on markets for his rolling collective bargaining negotiations. marcus was fired. a unanimous bipartisan panel at the end i'll are being determined in septembeseptembe r 2012 that marcus was unlawfully fired and ordered he be reinstated with backpay. the company appealed the decision to the u.s. court of appeals in the d.c. circuit and in january that case was delayed due to their recess appointment litigation. leaving marcus without any recourse. almost three years since his claim was filed with the board marcus is still looking for
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justice. he'd doesn't have his job back and the only job he can find pays only one third as much as his previous one. because of this financial hardship marcus just lost his home to foreclosure. real-life consequences. this wasn't just any home, it was his dream home the home that he and his family had scrimped and save for their entire lives. the american dream was lost at no fault of his own because the system was broken and could not protect his rights. let's be clear about why marcus was fired. he was fired for participating in collective bargaining a process that are nation's laws protect and encourage. i've often quoted from the national labor relations act on this point and i will do so again. the act states might quote, this is the law, it is to clear to be the policy of united states to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstruction to the
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free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining. and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization and designation by representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection," map. so the national labor relations act doesn't just set up the parameters. they actually encourage, they encourage a procedure of collective bar -- targeting. i'm proud to be a citizen of a country that encourages collective targeting and it might colleagues don't share the seas they should be honest. i think i would be much more
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appropriate than constantly using procedural tricks or political obstructionism and budget game playing to destroy the agency's ability to do the job that is required by law to do. three people sitting before us today have been dedicated and courageous in fulfilling the duties they have been sworn by members of the board. despite constant political interference in even personal attacks. the other two nominees before us today have commendably accepted the president's call to serve and are eager to join the board even in these tumultuous times. these are five incredibly well qualified candidates to the national labor relations board. they come from diverse backgrounds and all are deeply steeped in labor or employment law and would bring experiences to the board. it cannot be disputed that this is a highly-skilled, competent and experienced panel of labor or employment law experts and they deserve to be confirmed. they should we confirmed.
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a letter i recently received from 32 management side and 15 union side labor attorneys from across the country made this point better than i can. it urged a swift confirmation of the full package of five nominees instead quote while we differ in their views over the decisions and actions of the nlrb over the years we do agree that our clients are best served by the stability and certainty that a full and firm board will bring to the field of labor and management relations. i couldn't agree more. i was heartened to hear that my good friend and ranking member senator alexander stayed on the floor of the senate a few minutes ago that he wants to affirm the full package of board nominees. i would like to work again with senator alexander to get that job done so that we have a five-member board. so i hope that we can put a lot of the this stuff behind us and have a good hearing and start
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fresh and get things on the record and confirm the full package of five eminently qualified individuals to be members of the national labor relations board and with that i recognize senator alexander. >> thank thank you very much mr. chairman and i look forward to this hearing with the five nominees and i think them for their willingness to serve. it is important to have a fully confirm national labor relations board. this agency is charged with the that the chairman said with grading stability for employees, employers and unions to allow americans to focus on succeeding in growing but there is a troubling lack of respect for the constitutional separation of powers and for the senate's role of advice and consent that is standing in the way of this confirmation process. constitution laid out a balance of powers that has worked pretty well and pretty much as the founders intended for 227 years. article i of the constitution made us different from most governments at the time.
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most of their founders, not all of them but most of them did not want a king and to ensure that we did not have a king, our country had a congress with clear powers granted to congress which could not be abrogated. clearest power of the monarch or a power of an executive in our constitution are article i of the constitution created by congress in the bill of rights. article ii enumerates the executive powers of the presidency and it recognizes the practical reality of the day on congressional recesses. one of the powers reserved by the senate is the best-known authority of this body and that is article ii, section 2 requiring the senate to consent to the appointment of ambassadors public ministers councils and other officers. we do that for 1000's of the president's nominees in each of the two congresses we have worked in a bipartisan way to
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make it easier for the president to make the nominations so the senate could consider them in a reasonable period of time. the founders anticipated there would be periods of time when the senate and the house would not be in session and the senate would not be able to consent to such an appointment so they put into the constitution a provision saying that during these times the president could make a recess appointmeappointme nt for quote vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate unquote. at the beginning of this nation this was important and in those days there were long extended periods of time between annual sessions of congress. members of congress were spread all over the country. senator sam houston of that texas had to go from texas to new orleans to get on a boat and come up the mississippi river ride a horse and take the stagecoach to finally get here and take the same route home. during the time senators were gone the president could make recess appointments. some may wonder why we still
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have recess appointments with modern communications in modern travel but it's still there in the constitution. president obama january 4, 2012 acted as though it weren't there at all. the president made recess appointments while the senate was not in recess. this is unprecedented. it's never been done. it was done during a time when the senate majority leader senator reid had proposed a resolution which the senate unanimously adopted that said the senate was in session and that it would convene every three days. over time the president, many presidents have expanded their use of the recess appointment power yet no one has gone as far as president obama did on that day. the senate must decide, not the president. if it were otherwise there would be no point in having advise and consent power in the constitution at all. the president could appoint officials anytime he wished. the senate could return to lunch
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and find there's a new supreme court justice. on january 4, the president made three appointments to the national labor relations board and two were still there. they have told me and i've met with them at had good meetings that they felt obligated to stay in their positions, those two members. pardon me mr. chairman. i lost page five and six. i will speak through it. after president obama took this action the so-called recess appointees begin deciding cases and one of those cases was an appeal to the supreme court. the company appealed because it argued that the company did not have the required quorum of three valid constitutionally appointed members. a three-judge panel of the district court of the court of appeals agreed. he unanimously sent these
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resource violated that the president made recess appointments when there was no recess. that court holds a special place in american judicial system because all nlrb decisions may be repealed there and many are. therefore all cases in which these nominated have participated or will participate may also be vacated and their votes provided the board with the necessary quorum. since the so-called recess appointees were sworn in the nlrb has issued 910 decisions ,-com,-com ma 206 of those came after the case which is the case accepting all of these appealing to the d.c. circuit vacated. i've met with each of the nominees before us today. i do not question their qualifications. they all have distinguished backgrounds. i know mr. -- and mr. griffith go up a gated to stay in those positions and they were appointed because of
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the oath they made and i appreciate the candor and their dedication to public service. my problem is not that their qualifications. my problem is that they continue to decide cases after the federal appellate court unanimously decided they were unconstitutionally appointed. not only is the president shown the lack of respect for the constitutional role of separation of powers and the curb on the sega branch that article i provides that i believe these two individuals have as well. this is part of a disturbing pattern of end run around the congress whether it's a executive orders that stretch limit of executive authority or using waiver authority to create an effective national school board or the secretary of health raising money privately for private organizations to do what congress has refused to do or whether it's recess appointments when there is no recess. it is important for our country's liberties to protect the separation of powers and
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therefore i cannot support the nomination of these two. i also believe their decision to stay creates an enormous opportunity for confusion and waste. i agree we want certainty and the best way to have certainty as to have five conference members of the board. the president could nominate two equally qualified members who did not sit on the nlrb when the court had decided they were unconstitutionally bear. i don't have the same problem with the three nominees here today chairman pearse and harry johnson who been nominated through the regular process and the best way for the president to ensure certainty is to nominate two well qualified individuals who did not continue to decide cases after the court said they were unconstitutionally appointed. i will pledge to work with the chairman for their confirmation. thank you mr. chairman.
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>> thank you senator alexander. >> thank you mr. chairman. i am pleased to introduce the distinguished nominee. he is currently a partner in the labor employment group in chicago where he has been since 2005. he has been senior fellow at the wharton school of business and received his b.a. from duquesne and mba from wharton and j.d. from pennsylvania law school. i met with him as i have the other nominees and find him to be knowledgeable about our system. he has written entire books about the end all or be and i'm glad to present him to the committee. >> thank you senator alexander. i recognize senator murphy for the purpose of an introduction. >> thank you very much chairman harkin and ranking member alexander for letting me
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introduce a dedicated public servant who is a capable member of the national labor relations board. sharon block is the current board member who has dedicated her life to public service. she served with integrity as a board member since january of 2012 and previously she served as deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs in the department of labor and is the senior labor and employment counsel for this committee where she worked for senator kennedy. ms. block is also served as a senior attorney to chairman robert t. steffen national labor relations board from 1994 to 96 and was the general counsel of the national endowment for the humanities and got her degree from georgetown university law center where she won the -- liberal op-ed she grew up in westport connecticut and her parents who i believe are here today still reside in wilton connecticut. we are very we are very proud of the work that she has done and america's workers and businesses are counting on us to make sure she continues her important work
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as a board member at the nlrb thank you mr. chairman for allowing me to introduce ms. block before the committee today. >> thank you senator murphy and now i will recognize senator -- >> thank you mr. chairman. it's my pleasure to introduce richard f. griffin junior who has served on the nlrb since january of 2012. richard is a law school graduate of eastern university in boston and for 28 years he has worked for the international union of operating engineers. 17 of those years he has spent as their general counsel. operating engineers have a special place in my heart. my big brother operated -- and was a member this union. i bet chance to meet many of the members. they are honest people, hard workers who have literally helped build our country. mr. griffin has helped clean up the union and has served as a
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trustee for the central pension fund to assure the retirement security of over 100,000 participants including my brother. thank you. he has also had extensive experience working in the counsel for the nlrb. he served the democratic board member john -- and president reagan's appointee republican chairman donald dotson. we are pleased to have him here today with us and to share your testimony and we are very pleased to welcome your wife and your daughter who i understand are also her also with you so thank you very much for being with us. massachusetts is proud of you and we look forward to your testimony today and your service on the nlrb. >> thank you very much senator warren. i would like to call to the table a former colleague and good friend senator byron dorgan and former senator byron dorgan from north dakota for the purposes of introducing ,-com,-com ma an introduction. senator dorgan welcome back to
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the senate. >> mr. chairman thank you very much a members of the committee it's nice to be here nice to see all of you. i will be mercifully brief. i know you have five nominees and you had a hearing earlier this morning. i was just thinking as i was sitting here that with all the difficulty of the nominations it is an enormously hopeful sign that when the country calls people come to this table to say that i will server that is the case this morning. i'm here to introduce a friend and a colleague named terry johnson. harry is someone who is a distinguished career. he is a native for jini and. he is a friend and he is a harvard graduate, very distinguished career in the law in california working for eric fox and i've had the opportunity to work with him and know him well and commend him to you. he is smart, honest, experienced i am convinced he will make a
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very positive contribution to this board and it seems to me that when you put someone who is both serious and thoughtful on a ward like this at this time it certainly will help, not hurt. if i might make one additional comment our country is blessed i think that over time then the question is asked of who will lead, that there are always people that step up in this country and say i will lead an answer that call. harry johnson is one of them, and they as you know and their families often pack up including their children and their belongings and move halfway across the country to serve their country. that is the case today with harry johnson. he is the obvious choice and i'm proud that the president has asked him to serve and proud that he has volunteered to serve and hope you will have a very strong support among the committee members this morning. mr. chairman thank very
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much. >> senator dorgan thank you very much for being here and for that introduction and of course you are always welcome to appear before this committee on this or anything else so thank you very much for being here senator dorgan. senator schumer is going to be here for the purposes of introduction but i think he is to hide up in the immigration hearing in the judiciary so, mr. pierce if you don't mind i will take mr. schumer's place in introduce the chairman. mark dessing pierces the chairman of the national labor relations board and served as a member of the nlrb since march of 2010. formerly a founding partner of pierce johnson and tureaud chairman pierce has been in the practice of labor and employment law for more than three decades. at the start of his career chairman pierce worked as a field attorney and later district trial specialist with three of the national labor relations. senator schumer.
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[laughter] well, we welcome you. senator schumer i didn't know if you would get out of the immigration markup or not. >> a few minutes respite is welcome. and much more pleasant to be here. >> thank you and welcome aboard the committee. i just started. i didn't know if you could break away and i started to introduce mr. pierce but i welcome you. >> thank you chairman harkin and ranking member alexander and all of my colleagues here today. i know you're pressed for time so i'll try to be brief. i'm pleased to be able to introduce an esteemed attorney and native of brooklyn new york my home borough who made his home at the other end of our great state in buffalo new york. that is mark pierce at this committee. for some of this is a reintroduction. president obama pointed mark markets around the nlrb board and was confirmed by the full
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senate on august 27, 2013 after sworn in as chairman. today what i would ask the committee to approve his nomination so he can continue his important work and the board can be productive under his continued leadership. marquesen select and experience and dedication they cannot only an outstanding public servant but also a tireless advocate for the issues he care so much about. unquestionable leader for fair labor practices and fair representation for union workers. before coming to washington mark was the founding member of the buffalo new york law firm of creighton pierce johnson and geroux. mark pax labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies and served by appointment to the governor and the new york state industrial board of appeals and throughout his career he has representative individuals as well as public and private sector labor unions.
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all matters involving employment and labor relations including civil service employment discrimination collective bargaining contract compliance arbitration and prosecution. mark as much as served on the board in the courtroom but he is commend committed to helping the next generation by working in the classroom. he taught at cornell university in industrial labor relations. a fellow in the college of labor employment lawyers so mark's in question will dedication experience and intelligent make him extremely qualified to serve on the nlrb and i recommend his nomination without reservation and urge his swift confirmation. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator schumer thank you very much for being here and appearing before this committee. thank you very much senator schumer. now i would call to the witness table our nominees. it will be from left to right.
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chairman pierce, mr. griffin, ms. block, mr. johnson and -- at least that is how i was told to do it anyway. we welcome you all here to the committee. i again thank each and everyone of you for, as a lot of us have said for your willingness to serve on this crucial and important independent ward. we will start first and ask you to sum up your statement. your statements will be made a part of the record in your retirement and i would ask you to sum up in five minutes or less so we can get into our question and answer. matsui will start with her distinguished chairman mr. pierce and again welcome
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back to the committee and please proceed as you so desire. >> thank you chairman harkin senator alexander and members of the committee. it is a great honor to appear before you today as well as to be considered for another term as a member of the national labor relations board. i am joined here by my wife nancy, my daughter could not make it. i was born as senator schumer said in brooklyn, one of five children. my parents jamaican and cuban born immigrants came to the united states with the idea that honest hard work one can accomplish almost anything in this great country. my mother was a factory worker and my father worked as a labor. they say it, but real estate and started small business and turn their hopes into realities. although possessed of little formal schooling might parents instilled in their children the
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importance of education. they live to see me become a practicing attorney and my mother proudly saw me confirmed as a member of the national labor relations board. i graduated from high school in brooklyn. at cornell university and several of my college summers were spent working in construction. the reason installation of the tower in the city reminded me that during two of the summers i had the amazing experience of working on the original twin towers, a monument to american labor and ingenuity that will not be forgotten. i received my life degree from the state university of new york in buffalo and it was in buffalo that great working-class city where i fell in love with my wife and with labor law in that order. as a law student, i was assigned
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b buffalo regional work study program. this experience and exposure was transforming. through the enforcement of the act significant issues affecting workers, employers and unions were being addressed and industrial peace was being obtained. i knew immediately that this was what i wanted to do. and this became the focus of my studies and my subsequent employment. i worked for 15 wonderful years in buffalo at the regional office is a field attorney and a district trial specialist enforcing the nation's primary labor laws throughout the united states. i eventually left the nlrb to go into private practice. i cofounded a buffalo law firm specializing in labor and employment law. i practiced extensively before the national labor d anrea alsoe
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clients before state and federal courts and agencies. i taught courses at cornell and they served as a certified mediator for the united states court of the western district of new york. mediation training became a valuable tool in my effort in the board to seek common ground. in 2010 i had the honor and privilege to be nominated appointed and confirmed as a member of the national labor relations. the very agency in which i started my career. the following year i had the honor and privilege and that honor and privilege was furthered by being named chairman of the board. as chairman i gained an even deeper appreciation for the work of the agency and its importance to employees, employers and unions.
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in the last fiscal year alone over 20,000 unfair labor practice charges were filed with the agency by members of the public. as a result of the enforcement of the act more than 1200 workers and over $44 million were recovered by employees in backpay and union fees or dues. during this same period the board process close 25 elections -- and conducted more than 1600 representation elections. for a small agency, the board has touched the lives of many americans. from most two years i've representative the agency as one of the leaders and principle spokesperson. i've embraced the responsibility of chairman and i'm grateful for the opportunity to serve. if it pleases the senate, it would be my privilege to continue to serve on the board.
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i thank you for this opportunity to offer these remarks and i welcome your questions. >> timing is perfect. five minutes exactly. thank you. mr. griffin please proceed. >> chairman harkin senator alexander and members of the committee i am honored to appear before you today is the nominee for the national labor relations board. when i started as a nlrb staff lawyer in 1981 i did not hope for such an opportunity. it's the pinnacle of any labor lawyer's career possible for me. i'm humbled by the committee to serve and greatly appreciate the confidence that president obama expressed by nominating me. i am joined by my wife claire, my daughter emma and my son. it is impossible for me to express the full extent of my appreciation for my family's love and support. i also want to credit my parents
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richard f. griffin senior and jane flanigan griffin. they set the example which i've tried to emulate and set the example in their life which i've tried in the annually throughout mine. their work ethic, both 80 years old and working with them full-time. my father is a lawyer and my mother is a research scientist is a standard i can only aspire to. their active engagement in numerous civic and professional activities in my hometown of affluent new york has been an inspiration. i was educated in the catholic schools in buffalo and yale university in northeastern university school of law. during law school through the school's unique co-op program i worked with united auto workers in detroit and for small labor law firm in chicago. these experiences confirmed my desire to practice labor law. a field offered an opportunity for bridging differences solving problems and making peoples lives better and suited my interest and engage my abilities. after law school i went to work at the al rp on the staff of
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board member john -- appointed by president eisenhower in 1957 mr. fanning is a nlrb serving 29 years as a board member. he truly believed in the national labor policies stated in section 1 of the act to encourage collective bargaining and protect the exercise by workers of full freedom of association self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or further mutual protections. i have great respect for the statutory principles which ingrained in me by the five lawyers who worked for mr. fanning. i took what i learned from them to work for the new chairman, donald dotson will. you would be hard-pressed to find any to board members who are farther apart on the ideological perspective and chairman fanning and mr. dotson but i worked successfully for both of them receiving the exact
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same annual evaluation from both. ..
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the union had responsibilities as an employer to comply with all of paul's ouster was provided by the collective bargaining agreements with several unions that represented the employees. these experiences as a staff at the union lawyer and the general counsel of the mid-sized enterprises cavy useful and i believe fairly unique perspective on the board. they tried to bring the perspective to bear working with wonderful colleagues. the chairman both of whom bring their own who broad range of experiences as well as deep knowledge of the act to our deliberations. i've done so by the staff. there are no finer lawyers in the service than those working for the poor and i hope to do so in the future with two new learned capable colleagues.
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if confirmed i pledged to work in partially into the best of my of devotee with my colleagues and the boards career staff to strike the appropriate balance between the employee rights and management interest that is the board's central task. thank you for your consideration of my nomination and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you again. you are right on five minutes. i appreciate that. i remember not too long ago you used to sit right here. welcome back. >> thank you, chairman >> thank you, chairman harkin, senator alexander and members of the committee. i am so honored to appear before you as an honoree for the national relations board. i assure you that i appreciate your task in assessing my fitness for the position for which the president has nominated me. as the chairman he alluded to by spent a fair amount of time in this room setting behind senator
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kennedy in the counsel to the kennedy more than one of the shares just behind me and my role as the deputy assistant secretary of labor for congressional affairs when the department witnesses testified here. and i welcome the same scrutiny of my nomination that i witnessed in this room of others. in watching the members of this committee do their work i believe prepared me well for taking on the role of a member of the national labor relations board. my experience working on the miners act for the committee has been particularly instructive for my tenure as a board member. i first came to work with senator kennedy in the wake of the terrible disaster. senator murray and isaacson recognized the need to protect american miners and told us their staff to get a bill done to improve the safety. and i've learned from participating in those negotiations many important lessons, the value of considering the perspectives of all stakeholders, the necessity of finding practical solutions
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to do more than just sound good on paper and the virtue of the principled compromise. no senator involved in the negotiations got everything he or she wanted and the resulting legislation. but through your hard work, open dialogue and willingness to compromise coming you achieved a great bill that has made a difference for the workers and employers. and i tried to apply these lessons as a board member. the attorney also has prepared me well for service as a board member. while he was fortunate to represent the board in many high-profile cases during my earlier tenure of the board, what made the biggest impact on me with a smaller cases. the cases where the parties have no interest in making all or engaging in the ideological debate. instead they are the cases where
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the board as a neutral at adjudicator brings resolution to parties who just want to have their voices heard and their views fairly considered. these are the kind of cases that dominate the docket today as in the past. the majority of cases that i have participated in as a board member serving as both democrats and republicans have been unanimous decisions that apply longstanding precedents. the cases cannot be overstated. it is through these cases that the bill fulfills its mission of preserving industrial peace. we oppose the statement after being discharged and affirm the right running his or her business on the fact shows a genuine impasse in the negotiations exist at the collective bargaining process well and can continue. as you know, german hard and he alluded to there is no right of action under the act that
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employees employers and unions are dependent on the board to ensure that the system for resolving with the congress created still worked. it's incumbent to move all cases as efficiently and fairly as possible. and in my experience on the board again with both democrats and republicans, we've done so in the spirit of respectful collegiality to be a i discussed every case with the career attorneys on my staff who have both management and labor experience triet i always appreciated the discussion he not only allows but encouraged. and i encourage that tradition with my staff. they know is a former career attorney i will never underestimate the value of their contributions. i would like to had been nominated serving as a board member is the greatest honor of my professional life. i have been in public service almost all of my career. in the long span of my service has been as a career civil servant with the board.
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the staff attorneys and during the ten years i served in that role i never dreamed that i would one day be a board member. when the president asked me to serve, i was surprised, humble. this means so much to me because i believe the mission of the board means so much to the tradition of fairness and dignity in the american workplace and a confirmed board is the best way to honor and support that important tradition. in closing i would like to think that two sets of people here who have been so important to me during the past 17 months. first my colleague and richard griffin the board has had no finer members and i am so grateful for the experience of serving with them to be a i would also like to thank my family who argue with me, my husband, kevin, my children, charlotte and ely, my parents and my kunkel weigel for all of their love and support. thank you for the opportunity to offer these opening remarks and i welcome your questions.
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>> thank you. we welcome you and all of the members of your family also. johnson, welcome again to get please proceed as you so desire. >> chairman harkin and other members of the committee, thank you for the privilege of my being with you today and of being able to meet with you, some of you previously today and your staff. i would like to thank the senator for his gracious introduction. i would like to thank president obama for the honor of the nomination and thanks finally to the folks sitting with me here at this table. the three democratic nominees and the other republican nominee for their own personal courtesy to me. i appreciate the people here with me today as my family. my wife monica sitting a few rows back over my right shoulder
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she served as a lawyer and as a mediator and then chose to stay home and she created a home for our family. i wouldn't be before you here today at this proceeding without her support. i would like to introduce you to our 10-year-old daughter sofia and our 8-year-old daughter a few rows behind me again. those impressive students and hard-working athletes and most importantly to us young people with kind and generous heart to it i would like to introduce you to my parents who were in the navy in world war ii, served on the u.s. wisconsin as an electrician and then as a physician in the naval reserves for a total of 43 years of service and my mother and lieutenant commander retired who served in the navy corps for 21 years. finally my brother came them
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from boston and i had some folks from my home town of virginia. it to the matter at hand, this is the second half of the most important job interview that i have ever had. confirmation by the senate is a crucial part of this process. and in the remaining time i have to give you a brief window into flying in and what i believe. i'm currently in private practice with a law firm founded in the district in 1942 with founders having come from distinguished careers in government service. i work in the firm's los angeles office. my practice since i graduated from harvard law school in 1994 has been in employment will mostly representing companies from the very large to the very small. that is in quoting a good deal of traditional labor law including proceedings on the fair labor practice cases and their representation cases before the national labor
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relations board people in the end, however, what i told you is a list of the relevant qualifications and achievements. for the nomination to the board it is just as important. so let me tell you what i believe concerning the national labor relations act. thanks to the hard work of the dedicated career staff serves an incredibly important role in the country and free enterprise system. i believe in free enterprise. but we cannot have a free enterprise system without a system of labor law just like we can't have a free enterprise system without property law or contract law. the board must serve as an honest broker when it signs the cases and should never pick winners and losers based on ideology rather than fill all. in my mind the board should always remember that a good faith and player cannot operate because of a regulatory environment that suffocates their ability to create economic success then there will not be
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jobs and there will not be and we use and ultimately there cannot be liable lieber unions and i think that we would all be justifiably saddened that such. we cannot choose the times in which we live and i didn't choose the time in july of last year when someone would call and ask me to serve my country in this capacity to be if i could have chosen i would have preferred my potential service on the board to come the nation wasn't in a constitutional and with local agreement. but here we are and here i am because i said yes. if confirmed by would translate that into working as hard as i could eat the functioning board fairly adjudicating. to paraphrase winston churchill, i can only give the american people my blood, tears and sweat. and nearly two decades and that experience. but if confirmed and will the
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full measure. now, welcoming in and please proceed. >> thank you. german harkin, ranking member alexander and other commanders thank you my wife seated behind me. there is no higher honor than being considered for the national relations board. the board deals with rights important to me where everyone. affecting better and how people can work and run successful
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businesses with a big impact on communities and state and local governments. -- my brother spent a summer working in a steel mill. i began work at age 14 as a cadt the library in pittsburgh. for many years i worked as a musician represented by local 6471 of the american federation of musicians. in my family i learned firsthand about keeping an open mind regarding a labor-management issues. at one time my mother was a member of the pittsburgh public-school board and my older sister, while living at home, was a pittsburgh public-school teacher that participated in a 57 day strike that kept 62,000 students from going to school. and the affected students and
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put it went under sister whose high school graduation was jeopardized by the dispute. the teachers picketed everyday. some teachers my older sister's friends regularly came to our house. they put their signs outside with the science facing the street and of redican inside where my mother invariably made them breakfast or serve them coffee in the kitchen. everybody was treated with respect and nobody was forced to abandon. they were very different held opinions. i have applied these will representing employers and dealing with unions and employees for 40 years. i have advanced quite impressed by focusing on substantive issues and working to foster constructive relationships with opposing counsel unions. i've lived in the chicago area for most of my career since 2005 as a partner with morgan lewis.
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i've also had the good fortune of being affiliated over three decades with the center for human resources at the university of pennsylvania. if confirmed, three things would guide my service on the board. first i have great respect for the use tv to work done by congress that produced the national labor relations act and putting the amendnt if confirmed i will remember the policy originates with congress not with members of the nlrb. members come and go but if confirmed by will do everything i can to recognize the board's career professionals and staff members that do much of the boards hard work and contribute so much to their public service. finally, they operate in the world where it can be difficult find common ground to the i embraced the reality that party is in the board members can have sharp disagreements and strongly held views. a former chairman stated the one factor every case has in common is the presence of at least two
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people who see things completely different. i respect every one who has served one is willing to serve on the board regarding some policy issues, my fellow nominees and i may not always agree. if confirmed i will approach every decision with an open mind, share my opinions and a constructive way. i will try to forge agreement with fellow board members and be open to differing views. above everything else, i will do my best to discharge the responsibilities placed on every member which is to apply all law as written consistent with what congress intended pity i recognize the senate and the committee must carefully evaluate every nominee and that includes myself. it's a privilege to be here and i look forward to the committee's questions. thank you. >> thank you. welcome to you and your family members who are here also. thank you. i think just listening to all of you and reading your testimony i think it is clear that every
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single eminently qualified for this position, no doubt in my mind. we will start a series of five minute questions. my first question is despite the board's role in creating industrial peace i just discussed and members discussed its counterattack of last several years. most recently concerns have been raised about the legitimacy of the national labor relations board continued operations following the d.c. circuit court decision in the canning case. while the d.c. circuit itself acknowledged that its decision in the matter was in conflict with three other circuit courts of appeals, and despite the fact the case has been appealed to the supreme court, some of my colleagues have argued the board should have shut down in the wake of the decision. mr. chairman why do you feel the board could continue to operate under the decision was issued?
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>> thank you, chairman. in addition to the points that you have made, there was also the fact that historic the mikeb has functioned in a way of constitutional challenges. we were born of controversy in 1935 to 1937 our legitimacy was challenged in the courts. we continue to function and when the supreme court finally decided the issue, we still had managed to serve the public. but most importantly, we owe it to the public to continue to work. every day the board provides a forum for the workers, employees, employers and unions to come forward and to air their issues. this ensures that economic security is provided and is
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protected from industrial unrest. there is no private right to action as it has been said several times. the nlrb is the only form, the only request that a lot of people have. the statute of limitations for the unfair labor practice continue to rest. obligations under the national labor relations act are not suspended while litigation goes on over the issue of whether or not the board's composition is correct and such faugh for a person that lost their jobs because they wanted to join a union and are about to lose their home. it doesn't hold a consequence for an employee or worker that is being discriminated against by a union because they are not a member of union.
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>> i wanted to ask as a follow-up to that, some have suggested in fact requested that you resawing from your positions because of the case. i often fought since a was on appeal i often thought that was like alice-in-wonderland first the sentence and then we have the verdict. i wonder if you have a comment on how you feel you can continue to function in light of the case mr. griffin. >> pushed a button. >> chairman, you have indicated that the conflict that the d.c. circuit expressed with its decision in the case with respect to the issue of the intercession appointments and the rising recess questions. so there's a conflict of court
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decides the solicitor general on our behalf has asked the supreme court to resolve the matter. i was appointed and asked to serve and i took an oath to serve in under the circumstances since the supreme court hasn't rendered a final judgment on the constitutional question and for all the reasons the chairman indicated in terms of the important work that we do, i felt it was important to continue to do the important work of the border to an oath to do. >> do you have anything to add one you continue to reserve rather than resign? >> i appreciate the opportunity to address that and i agree with everything that my colleagues have said. the public we serve relies on us to give a fair hearing and bring a resolution. so thinking about how i could
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best uphold the no-fly took to do that and to protect the institution of the board as my colleagues have said, i thought that it was incumbent on me to provide that service while these issues were worked out in the litigation and i felt like a share with you what my thought process was to revive the but the people that brought their cases to us during the year and we know while the issues have been percolating the employers continue to consent to elections and parties continue to settle cases with us. parties have also not filed petitions for review when we issue decisions and so when i thought about that some of the people that brought cases to less, i thought about a discriminatory case that the employer we found in a bipartisan unanimous decision of
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the board member hayes, griffin and myself the employer engaged in bargaining, they didn't really want to come to an agreement and then started unlawfully imposing unilateral actions on the employee's throughout seniority and as a result of this action, there was a 73-year-old employee who have worked for the employer for 42 years who as a result of these unlawful actions was forced to change his job from a truck driver on the surface to working 11 hour shifts underground. he came to us because he wanted a fair hearing and some resolution. when i thought about him and people like him that rely on the board in light of the circumstances of the ongoing litigation, i felt the best way that i could fulfil the oath i made when i took this job was to continue to function. >> thank you. >> thinks mr. chairman.
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this morning the third circuit court of appeals made a decision concluding that a the nlrb panel lacked the requisite number of people to exercise the authority during the interest section break so we have yet another circuit that agrees on the d.c. circuit is consistent with the decision that recess appointments are supposed to be made and during recesses or we have a situation the president can just ignore article 1 the principal on the power of the executive and i would observe also that it's better to have a quorum and it's better to have five members and i've said in my earlier remarks i admire the
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qualifications of all five of the individuals here that my problem is with continuing to serve after such an unprecedented lack of respect for the providence of congress and the separation of powers, and in the meantime the nlrb could investigate an unfair labor practices, prosecute unfair labor practices, conduct elections, administrative judges could have unfair practices, the general counsel could issue memorandum sign number of activities they could continue to take while the matters are resolved and you have to balance it seems to me the confusion that is going to be caused when hundreds are vacated or subject to being vacated when it's decided that the board decides so many cases are without a quorum. the chairman noted that there are strong passions that sometimes people on the republican side wish its
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progress they were not in session. there are strong passions on the riverside too levesque to put in the record the article from 2007 talks about the union leaders discontent with of the labor board and the the sympathizers' demonstrated in front of the headquarters chanting shut it down for renovations and they said they would be happy the board did nothing until the democrat was in the white house and senator reid, the majority leader at that time said the senate was considering holding pro-forma sessions in the senate to prevent president bush from naming him as a recess appointment president. senator reid then did that and president bush respected the senate's decision about when it was in session and when it was not. i have a question for you if i might about the last. during an organizing campaign
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the require employers to provide organizers with a list of employer names and addresses. this is called the xl list. you lead a regulatory effort to expand that to include telephone numbers come e-mail addresses, work locations, shift and job classifications. i would think a lot of employees wouldn't want all that personal information shared without their consent and wouldn't want to be harassed about whether or not to join a union. if confirmed will you continue to pursue this broad expansion of information that employee names and addresses that started with only names and addresses -- was in that about that time there were not so many other pieces of personal information and the name and address was one piece of information but now you are asking e-mail addresses, work locations and john classifications are you going to continue to on that and
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if you were, why wouldn't you allow employees to opt out of providing that kind of personal information? >> thank you, senator. currently the board regulation asks for the last and that was pursuant to the decision that is decades old. we are all creatures or victims of technology. the national labor relations board evolves with the technology otherwise we couldn't effectively enforce the act. and in so doing it is appropriate and responsible for us to look at the technological
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advances that are typical in the communication between workers and between employers. >> see you have to have a list of employees e-mail addresses to come up with a modern technology? >> what i'm saying, senator, is i can't answer that -- all that has to be evaluated and taken into consideration. it's under consideration by the board as to what would be appropriate in this day and age for fear and equal contact of employees. there are cases that we have decided with respect to unfair and unreasonable harassment and if those circumstances, up, those things would be addressed but right now it is the
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regulation. how we have a vault from that remains the consideration of the board. >> thank you for your answer. i hope the board will take up privacy as well as technology. >> senator murray, senator isaacson, senator casey, senator scott, senator bald and then a senator warren. >> thank you for holding this hearing. this is not a routine hearing buy any stretch of the imagination this is a hearing about the position and future of the country. it's a hearing about whether we believe all of the country that protect workers and employers alike should be enforced. it's about the future opportunities we have to have good jobs in our economy, protect our shrinking middle class providing opportunities
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for workers to improve conditions and ensuring a smooth relations between workers and employers to make sure that we have efficient operation of our economy. i have heard a claim this is a hearing about the union that is inaccurate because the nlrb and its rulings protect all private sector workers in the american work place regardless whether they are in the union for exercising their rights and those rights have led to many significant improvements across the economy, higher pay, better benefits, safer working conditions, fewer injuries and deaths in the strongest economy in the world. so it is no shock that its collective bargaining in the unionization rates have declined wages have stagnated and equal the has risen in our economy has struggled and it's noteworthy that many of the problems arose about the same time a prolonged attacked on the nlrb commenced.
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for over 30 years now the process of nominating and confirming board members has been nonexistent. partisan the blocking of the nominees has largely prevented the board from operating on a routine basis and it has made enforcement of workers' rights very difficult. for 35 years, recess appointments have become all too routine and for nearly 30 years the senate has been forced to regularly consider packages of nominees in order to get any nominees on the board. this is know when to run an agency and that is why we are where we are now. many people just don't want the nlrb to function at all but i worry about what that says about the values and what will happen to the economy and society if we allow that to happen where the workers' rights are not protected and that there is a few were check on the rise in incoming quality and individuals are increasingly left on their own in an economy that is in
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different to those without protection. that's why i believe it's in part to mr. treen that we move to act quickly, approve the package of the nominees not because i agree with every one of them individually. i have concerns about some of the individuals, but i don't deny at all that they are all qualified, experienced, can and should serve and i think each of you for your willingness to do this. i hope we can move quickly to this and i've asked a series of questions if you can just each respond yes or no. first do you agree the senate should consider your nomination of the package? >> yes. >> yes. >> i would like to see the political and constitutional questions are wind above my purview i can only represent myself. if a senator i would confirm me. [laughter] >> i wouldn't presume to advise
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the senate how they should address the nominations. i will say that fellow nominees all of them have been gracious and my dealings with them i would be willing to serve on the board with any nominees that the senate would choose to confirm and that goes for me as well. >> do you agree each of the nominees sitting at table this morning is highly qualified to serve and deserves to be considered as part of a package i have no doubt as to how all the nominee's qualifications will you pledge to meet the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and object to be? >> yes. >> absolutely. >> of course. to recognize while each of you brings different experiences and
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backgrounds to not allow personal by aziz to interfere with your impartial application of law. >> yes. >> yes. >> of course. >> yes. >> mr. chairman i think that says to the committee that this is a group that is highly qualified and that we should move forward on the package to confirm. i would just add one thing and that is i spoke a minute ago about the growing income inequality pay equities are important for american women to help close the income gap and i want to submit for a record. women are paid and the equity and are calling for. we need to move all nominees quickly and confirm them thank you. >> senator isaacson. welcome to all the nominees.
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chairman pierce, thank you for your service i have a question for you to begin with. under your leadership as the chairman during your term as the chairman. the specialty health care is a decision involving certified nursing assistants. their 33 certified nursing assistants that wanted to unionize to perform their own bargaining units without having people in the cafeteria and people than other areas in the facility what we did do is apply traditional standards to assess what inappropriate unit is. it has been a tenant of the law
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that a unit we would determine the appropriate, not the most appropriate union. these women were just that people get the national labor relations board's decisions was consistent with assessments of what would be an appropriate bargaining units consistent with what the courts have considered. the d.c. circuit in vegas made the determination that our assessment and the factors that we take into consideration were the correct ones. >> let me ask you this question taking the to inappropriate which was the word for the juniors that you consider.
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following that decision rules that the second and the fifth departments and the former union was that appropriate in the same context the best that health care was? >> it was again whether or not there was a sufficient community of interest to constitute a bargaining unit. now, bargaining units, the median bargaining unit in this country is 27 employees. the group was much larger than that. so, if nothing else we remain consistent with what the medium has been in this country. in the common sense my union and a single establishment there was in terms of all the negotiations
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especially taking the health care decision if appropriate and applying it to a retailing establishment with a plethora of different departments within it and saying each one of them can organize the unit is counter productive to the consistency, customer service and the health of the environment that people live and work. >> this is all fact specific based upon the particular facts. for example, we decided a case in home depot that we decided using that same specialty health care standard that. the staff of employees was the appropriate union. furthermore, employees use a
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specialty health care to assess whether or not their position for the units have been correct. one case was petitioned for a group of employees that carved out another set of employees for the health care proposition that there was an overwhelming community of interest that excluded employees and that have been included in the unit. and we agree with them. >> thank you for the answer. mr. griffin thank you for your comments in your state of the minor act that you did with senator murray on that piece of legislation. do either one of you -- you both for publicly nominated for your position in december for the january employment. is that correct? >> that is correct, senator. >> the paper work hadn't even
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got to the committee to go through the confirmation process by january 4th when you were appointed, is that correct? >> i don't know the status of the paper was. we have completed all of the forms we were responsible for. >> i think i'm correct on those statements. assuming that i am to you know any reason why the president chose when he could have waited ten more days and gone through the regular order to go ahead and make a recess appointment given the fact you were nominated on the 11th of december? >> i wasn't consulted but the one thing that i would point to is because the members appointment was up on january 3rd, the board couldn't function, it was down to only two board members so for the board to function as necessary for the president to act so there would be a sufficient number of memers to process the
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board's business. >> do you know of any reason they would move ahead and expedite? >> i wasn't consulted about the decision. >> thank you mr. chair. >> i want to thank all of the nominees for your willingness to serve coming your appearance here and the commitment and sacrifice of your family's. i think in this hearing and what will be a long debate about these issues it is instructive if and i think more than that it is essential to the recall at least the two winners of the history, the one is the bad news before and then the good news after, before and after the national labor relations act was enacted. the bad news played out in my home state of pennsylvania. its net for pennsylvania. where you have.
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there is power that didn't allow workers to forget having a union didn't allow them to have basic rights and they were drawing people into the pavement on a regular basis. but coal miners lives were completely dominated by the company, the kind of low-wage service to which we cannot even imagine today. that was the history prior to the enactment of the national labor relations act. the good news is the country to determine the right direction after a lot of struggle and a lot of blood and people buying.
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the chairman was mentioning before about the declared policy in the act itself with the declared policy and the united states to eliminate the cause of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce, the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate the obstruction that go on from there. earlier in the findings it says this, and i quote, the experience has proved protection by law of the right to the employees to organize and bargain collectively safeguards commerce from the injury in permit or interruption and promotes the flow of commerce removing certain recognized sources of an industrial strickened unrest in the goes on from there. when we talk about the act, we talk about the board that carries out the requirements of
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the hat we talk about commerce, not one side being favored over the other so it's important we remember that and we should also remember the history we've had a democratic and republican presidents in the recess appointments. of fact, the record whether it was an intra session recess appointment and a terrorist session every president since ronald reagan has recess appointed to the board. the head of the recess appointments george w. bush had won 71 in the george h. w. bush at 74. so as we debate this, we should remember our history and make sure that we don't go in the direction that we were in the turn of the last century. unfortunately we have been taking a turn in that direction
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lately. i would also mentioned we have a conflict about the national labor relations board. it's a political conflict some might call it an ideological conflict but what we don't need malcolm of the last thing that we need here in washington and across the country is more division, more archaeology at the time we need the board fully functioning we need to find people to get confirmed here and any senator standing in the way of getting people confirmed and getting people confirmed as a lot of explaining to do. certainly in light of that history but also the urgency of today which is to have the free flow of commerce in the jobs that come from that so we have a
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lot to cover and my time is just about over i will submit questions for the record but i want to frank the first person and then submit other questions. for your mention of the various parts of pennsylvania but more importantly growing up in pittsburgh and having a lot of education and philadelphia. i want to thank you especially for the words and your statement about common ground and opening having an open mind about ask in the context of that and i know we are short on time, as the very specific question about the board itself. do you support the board of rulemaking authority? >> the act specifically authorizes the board to engage in certain types of rulemakings and engaged --
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>> i do and i believe in the rulemaking would depend on a couple of things that would be the deed for the rule and also the authorization and the act for any rulemakings and the content and the process adhered to or followed by the board for the purposes of getting input and other wise complying with the requirements set by the administrative procedures act. >> i have more questions that lie in way over time. >> senator space. >> thank you for taking the time to meet with me this week. i appreciate your willingness to serve a and we will have some disagreement in those questions
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the goal is to make sure that we continue to find the ability to have our economy firing in all cylinders. >> when i think that the recent days it seems to me the rules of law has been under attack. we have seen in the news the phone records scandal, the hhs and these issues undermine the confidence that the american people should have in their government. when i think about over the past few years, this seems to be a board that is about picking winners and creating losers in those decisions of the two roles. it should be a neutral arbitrator. an impartial and unbiased board protecting the rights of both of the employers and the employees. but instead, the board has become an activist board from our perspective. several examples of such, when we look at things like the rule on conducting the union dues even after the agreement was
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ended, it appears to me that there is a theme that suggests that we are no longer looking at an impartial board, but a board that has within it the desire to create an outcome forcing employers to come back to the union dues after the bargaining agreement has conspired seems to me to overturn 51 years of precedence. the second issue that we've just discussed was the case of the microunions. as few as the employees classification having an opportunity to form the union seems to strip away some of the opportunity and the devotee of the employers. i think that the northrop grumman shipbuilding or 223 technicians out of the 2400 employees formed by would consider the union as troublesome comer my perspective. the third example is the courtesy work rule.
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i think that is the case where the company, carless motor inn incorporated had encouraged the rule that was struck down and this was to be just a common sense rule. as a former employee here, i will tell you that from my perspective, the rule -- i will read what the rule was, the courtesy is the responsibility of every employee. everyone is expected to be courteous, polite, friendly to the customers, vendors, suppliers, and as well as to the fellow employees. no one should be disrespectful or use profanity or any other language that images the reputation of the dealership. the board found this to be unlawful. continuing that they would reasonably believe this is a prohibited statement of protest
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or criticism of the employ year. that to me boggles the mind. that is the practice forever. you want your employees to be courteous as possible and you have that simple rule struck down and found to be unlawful. i think the notice of posting record years the display of posters making sure that the employees know they can join the unions. if you're looking for a balanced approach he would have a poster that says you can be certified in a union as well. his example would be the ambush for the elections that we see the average and i hear and understand it takes 38 days with the an boesh we wittily down to ten days. that does not provide the
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employer or the employee to go through the process of making a sound decision. finally, i know this isn't a case for the board itself decided on, but without a question when you look at the opportunity to create. when the general counsel made a decision to try to shift jobs away from one state to another state, my question to you is how can we expect the board to return to a natural arbitrator when there are so many examples. the premise of the question that we are not in the neutral arbitrator we have been a neutral body and i speak for my
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colleagues to say, the board has made its decisions with full integrity. half of my career was a field attorney with the national labor relations board. i have to say with respect to the rules, you cited the courtesy rule, they are the province of the employer. the employer has a lot of control over the workplace and the board respect that. in the rule however that is vague to infringe upon or tends to infringe upon the section 7
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whites of their employees to engage and protecting the concerted activity will be considered, scrutinized and considered problematic if a reasonable employee can conclude from reading that rule that the protected activity under law. the protected activity under law would be curtailed. >> thank you putative let me just end with this. once again to read this rule. courtesy is the responsibility of every employee to be expected to be courteous, plight to the customers, vendors and suppliers as well as to the fellow
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employees. for any of our language that injures the image of the representation of the dealership. i would simply suggest that this i wouldn't consider vague and i do not see how this has to be struck down or from unlawful. thank you. >> thank you, senator scott. senator baldwin. >> thank you, chairman harkin and for holding this hearing on the sides of the individuals before us to sit on the national labor relations board. i am very pleased that we are holding this hearing today with the nominees in attendance. but as the new member of this body i am baffled that the senate failed to confirm to the labor relations board in many, many years. the main purpose behind the nlrb is rather simple to administer the national labor relations act to the unfairopractices,and t iy
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colleagues believe that it's more important to ensure that it's not able to function properly. is a hearing in as that of the right direction ensuring that millions of private sector workers in america have a place that will provide a remedy to such unfair labor practices that are found to excessed. i strongly support a fully functioning nlrb with five members. i think confirming the entire slate will ensure that the nlrb is working for american employers. the state has had a lot of focus recently on a collective bargaining rights particularly on the public sector and i know that we are here with a focus on the private sector.
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but wisconsin has certainly been an area where many citizens have to move into the importance of collective bargaining. many believe the collective bargaining to in the employer and the unions is just about the fight over money. in my experience is that collective bargaining often encompasses more than just dollars, and i wonder if you can speak to the examples of the kind of concerns that you have seen in issues of round negotiations that are beyond compensation. as i said we've gotten a quick study on all those issues in the public sector and the state of wisconsin to you have expertise in the private sector and i know there's five of you. your time is limited but vital i start with you, chairman pierce, to address the topic. >> i would just plain out one example that is very germane to
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the consideration of this esteemed body and that is the case that was determined to by this board that a negotiated collective bargaining agreement and an employer refused to execute. that was agreed to. it is an unfair labor practice was a correct one and i will turn this over. >> there are many areas of collective bargaining that or other than wages. in my service prior year when i worked with the operating engineers union in a major focus of negotiations that train
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people have the equipment and new pieces of equipment and when you work out of a hiring hall on the construction industry the more pieces of equipment that you know how to operate, the more employable you ariana the more valuable you are and abel umar to support your family. it's a focus of very expensive. financing and providing training was a major portion of the collective bargaining with respect to the union that i represent. >> this is one that i think is incredibly important and something that i had experience with nsa worked as a kennedy in state health, and we actually recently had a case where we upheld the right of the union to bargain with the employer over access to the workplace where there had been a fatal accident.
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and seeing the scene of the accident as to ensure that the employees that remained in the workplace had a fateful workplace and so i think we frequently see safety and health issues raised in collective bargaining and apart from any monetary interest, but really a vital employee interest. >> things sometimes come up in the context and we spring to mind immediately some of the employer and employees in the case that the board of adjudicated involving the policy under what circumstances can you make calls in the work. >> i would briefly add that in my career i've seen a multitude ranging from it healthcare
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solutions issues with technology and training, very difficult specific customer issues and manufacturing problems that have been dealt with at the bargaining table. >> thank you very much. we have five qualified candidates. i think as these candidates know and everybody here knows this discussion is not about them. they are qualified. they should be voted out and take a position immediately. what this debate is about is republican obstructionism as soon as i leave this meeting going to the environmental
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committee meeting to see if we can get gena appointed as the director of the last meeting republicans didn't kill of that meeting they boycotted it. let me just quote the following in the atlanta website this is what he said. quote, democrats regained control six years ago and they are the mitch mcconnell filibuster threats under a variety of names and were not seen in american history. they are the exceptional and then you're now used on any significant legislation or nomination. the goal of the strategy which maximizes the minority blocking power in a way not foreseen in the constitution has been to make the 60 votes required read seem routine, that is what he said. they have been intent to
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bottleneck and strike the order of the senate business as part of a dedicated political strategy in fact since democrats took control of the upper chamber in 2007, the senate of the 110th, 11th and 12th compress' witnessed the highest totals of filibusters ever recorded. so what we are seeing here is nothing new to you. it is in the way right now and has nothing to do with you personally. don't take it personally. what we are seeing at almost every single level is to make the government dysfunctional. and everybody knows -- and i know my good friend, senator alexander -- and he is a good friend, this is a public call tactic and i am not here to criticize that. you are in the minority using the position to advance your ideas in the best way that you can. i think it is a disservice to the american people but you are doing what you can in using the rules. now the question is what does the majority do? that to me is the question to
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the they are doing everything they can in this case to make it impossible for working people who are on the job to have their rights protected so that tomorrow with some fellow or somewhat interested organize the union gets fired against bill all they will have no recourse to the if an employer abuses an employee against the wall, they will have no recourse. the function of the nlrb is to protect the rights of workers in terms of labor negotiations and the right to form a union if there is no nlrb, those workers will have no rights and i think that is a terrible thing. but that is very clear about what the republicans want. we shouldn't be kept around the bush. these are qualified candidates. they should be allowed to do the job that the nlrb provides for them to do. now, the question, mr. chairman, is what happens. my guess is they will infact
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get a majority vote out of the committee probably with everybody on this side voting for them and everybody on that side voting against them to - the nominations will go to the floor of the united states senate. everything equal the republican friends will once again demand 60 votes and we will not get 60 votes to the nlrb come august i believe will then become dysfunctional and millions of workers will lose the protections that have been enshrined by the law for decades i'm not here to criticize republicans. they are here to do what is best in the long term strategy to obstruct and make it impossible for the president or any of us to do what is right in protecting in this case american workers. and mr. chairman, let me suggest to you what i think we should do. if once again this is obstructed , if the goal is to protect the nlrb from
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functioning in terms of protecting the rights of american workers, i think we should change the rules and take a majority vote to not only see that these people were seated so that they can do their job but that other nominees that have been clearly obstructed also have a chance to do their job. the american people see this institution as this functionally and one of the main reasons is the minority that has the right to make their case of senator alexander wants to go on the floor for 15 hours i will support his right to do that. but at the end of the day in america, the majority is supposed to rule. that is what elections are about. we want with majority rule with the president wants in the majority. the front role in the morning and millions of people are suffering as a result. so mr. turn and come here is my suggestion. if these nominees in fact get the vote that they need, which i suspect the well, they go to the
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floor, i will be very distraught if we do not seek them because of another filibuster. i would hope that we would use the rules of the senate for the majority rule and if we need 51 votes to seek them, let's do it. thank you mr. chairman. >> the senator's name was invoked. >> thinks mr. chairman. he has a different view of the senate than i do. i was reading the book about thomas jefferson together night and there was an evening when it jefferson and adams sat down after dinner, and i am paraphrasing very carefully from memory but he said and jefferson wrote that without the senate we would lose the republic. the idea that a popularly elected assembly majority vote
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could protect our liberties is a shimmer of the imagination. so, the founders have always envisioned the senate as different than the majority rule. you go to the house of representatives and they have the rule committee and if you win the house of representatives by one vote you have nine democrats on the majority in the four republicans on the side. that's a majority body and it runs like a fast train to if we had a majority body here than you would have that he party express running through the senate one year and a liberal group the next so that is a different view as far as the filibuster's go live introduced into the record earlier the information from the "washington post" that on march 18th president obama cabinet nominations have been treated more rapidly than the last week in the second turn and by now i suppose i would be about even
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and i would remind the senator that the number of supreme court justices in the history of the senate that have been defeated by a filibuster who'd been in either seat by the filibuster is zero the number of the district judges who have been defeated and indeed received by the filibuster is zero. cabinet members by neither seat by the failed cloture vote is zero and the number of circuit judges who've been in the seat by the cloture vote is five republicans all started by the democrats and five republicans and two democrats. i will repeat that since i said earlier but i respect the different deal of the senate. >> dalia understand where senator alexander is coming from but when a party chooses to use
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the rules and an unprecedented way to make this institution dysfunctional, then we have to look at the ways. >> the president has made recess appointments in a way that there wasn't a recess. if the senator were here he would be talking about that. thank you very much mr. chairman. i have to start out i think there was an apology and then was to charlie griffin when i welcomed mr. griffin i welcome his wife and his daughter i didn't know you were here so you are very welcome here and we are very pleased that you are here. i hope that you are enjoying this. i am very concerned when the senators procedural technicalities and filibuster is
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to block any nominations this isn't based on any problem with of the nominee is on the fundamental hostility to the work of the board like the consumer agency, the environmental protection agency and the the part of labor. the existence is part of the federal law yet the nlrb nominee face the same problems they face that the consumer agency and genomic are the faces of the environmental protection agency and that tom perez faces of the department of labour. this is complete obstructionism because the minority of senators don't like the agency's and don't like the work these agencies do to the it in my view this kind of obstructionism is a violation of the fundamental constitutional role to advise
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and consent on the nominations pla by all means, senators to vote against nominees with whom they disagree but the nominee is deserved a vote and i hope they get a vote and i think that is what this is about today. i also want to make it clear that we have heard from the five qualified individuals who will be voted on as a package. i certainly do not agree with the views of all five of the end of the individuals. i find it troubling that one of the nominee is was hired by the chamber of commerce, specifically to curb the nlrb regulatory authority. but this isn't about whether i agree or any of us in the greeley could disagree on the views of the ideology of each nominee. this is about whether or not they can function at all. it's giving the workers and the employer is a fair chance to have their voices heard and the
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disputes resolved. that is what we are here today to move forward. i will support a package of the five nominees. now, i have a couple of questions but one of them comes from what the senator raised. he seemed to apply that it's working hard to make sure that all employees in america and i surely think that cannot be the case. so i tried to find out what i can about the case in particular that he talked about and there are two parts to it that interested me. the first is that i understand that is the one we are talking about here is a case where the employees use the social media that affected the employer and complained about his or her job and in that case they ruled that the company could terminate the employee. the comments about the company
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is that correct? >> yes. >> a couple things if i could say something about the courtesy rule we don't have an issue on the courtesy. we had an issue in the sentence that said prohibiting saying anything unfavorable about the employer was the problem and consequently that the rule had to be dealt with because of that with respect to the social media piece, you had to postings. one was by the salesman of a video for the son of a customer, 13-year-old son of a customer jumping in to the car the customer just test drove it crashing the car into a pond at
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the dealership and the posting was whthe other potg was that they were having a promotional celebration it they were offering water and hot dogs and that posting what kind of loan is this? we are trying to sell fancy cars and this is what they are offering to the customers. the first posting involving the accident was the posting the was the basis for which the employer terminated the employee. we concluded that that was not protected activity. that was done on an individual basis as it was kind of snarky and it had nothing to do with the terms of employment. consequently, we found that there was no violation. with respect -- >> for all of us who don't do the leader walls it means that a good five-year the employee.
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thank you. >> and the other one we've reserved on it because it wasn't in front of us. >> i just wanted to be clear about what is happening to the american workplace. >> mr. chairman i see that i know of time. i will submit questions for the record. i want to say again i know that this is tough to take on public service like this particularly now and when there are much larger debates that golan that are not having to do with you specifically to the i'm grateful to all of you for your willingness to serve and i have no doubt that all five of you would serve this country well. thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> i will only be able to ask one question because i have to get back to the judiciary. i am sorry that i missed the rest of the hearing. how is it going? [laughter]
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first i want to thank all of you for agreeing to serve on the national labor relations board. this board plays an important role in protecting the rights of both employers and workers however the lack of the board and the d.c. circuit's decision has hampered the ability to protect these rights. susie is one of the workers reading waiting for her rights to be vindicated. she was a schoolbus drivers from minnesota. she was terminated because her employer wanted to, "get rid of employees who previously tried to organize a union. the nlrb found that her rights had been violated and ordered the company to rehire her and provide back pay. her employer appealed the decision to the d.c. circuit because of the decision and the court will not rule on the merits of the case it's now
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eight months after the nlrb decision and she has not been rehired and is waiting for $40,000 of back pay. mr. griffin does the senate confirm a full five member board would that mean for the workers who are waiting for the cases to be resolved and will it keep the future workers from being put that same horrible situation of waiting? >> thank you mr. senator. i remember the case. if we were to be confirmed as a board we would have to figure out what to do about the pending cases but the second point is right and is crucial there wouldn't be any more souci because we would be able to move forward and make our decisions and then seek enforcement in the court of appeal and get an up or down vote on the court as to
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whether we made the right decision under the early were law -- the labor law or not. >> i agree. the answer to the uncertainty that is caused by the constitutional challenge is to have a confirmed board. >> i'm sorry i have to go back because i have an amendment i have to introduce. i have questions for you, too. i'm sorry that i didn't get a chance to meet you. but good luck. it seems like everything is falling into place. [laughter] -- thank you, senator. >> well, thank everyone for your attendance and for the questions and i think the nominee is for being here and for the willingness to serve. i am almost tempted to engage in a little bit of a give-and-take
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of the constitutional background of the united states senate but i will reserve that for some other time on the floor or something. i've just been involved in trying to get rid of the filibuster for 20 some years. so why do have a few years on the senate rules and the ability of the minority to block legislation. i would say very succinctly that i have long felt that there should be a role for the senate to be able to slow things down and not rush to judgment, to be able to have the deliberations of the rights of the minority are not run all over but in the end at some point the majority must be able to act and should be provided to the minority to be able to offer amendments to be able to slow things down and get the public aware of with the
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majority is trying to do but not in the end to be able to absolutely stop something with the minority of the vote. again. thank you very much. i am hopeful that we can move these abominations very rply and with thenurrence of the ranking member. i hope to be a will to move them some time very soon. the record will remain open. the record will remain open for ten days. written questions must be submitted by this friday and then we will keep the record of and for the responses to those written questions to the above after ten days, we will do our duty and move the nominees. again. thank you very much.
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does anyone have anything that they want to add before we adjourn? if not -- >> thank you for your time. >> i'm sorry? >> i said thank you for your time, senator. >> it was senator leahy that first said the this and maybe he's been around longer than this but he said senators are a constitutional impediment to the smooth functioning of the staff. [laughter] i just learned that we are moving the nominee is next wednesday. next wednesday morning. thank you. the committee will stand adjourned. thank you.
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>> the environment public works committee passed the nomination to be the epa administrator. republican committee members boycotted the meeting that attended this meeting to vote against the nomination. this is about 20 minutes. >> the committee will come to order. colleagues, just for the benefit of all of you and your schedules, thank you for being
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here. when we have ten present, we will vote. in the meantime what we will do is begin to our opening statements. if it's okay with you when we have to and we will vote and then those that wish to make opening statements can stay. o thank everyone for their help on the water wasources development act that a major bipartisan victory. this one has been a little bit rough going as we know, so we take it as it comes. we are meeting again today to vote on the nomination of g. enough mccarthy to be administrator of the environmental protection agency. i was very uncertain as to whether we would have our colleagues on the republican side until late last night on a received news we may have a few present and i'm grateful for that. senator lautenberg is on his way and he will arrive momentarily. when he does if we have ten we will vote and if not we will wait for the ten and ask
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colleagues to withhold their opening statements. she is tremendously qualified to lead the epa and is more than three decades of public service experience including the local, state and federal level. she understands the importance of protecting the health and safety of children and families and knows how to get the job done. i think i hear our colleagues with a sense of humor on the way. she's already got the unanimous confirmation and her current job. she demonstrated the working with republicans and democrats and we need her strong bipartisan common sense approach to help lead this agency. she's worked for the republican governor of connecticut, republican governors of massachusetts, james swift and that romney and democratic president barack obama. she has received support from business health officials, environmental organizations and
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scientists. she is a woman most worthy of promotion. following her nomination hearing in this committee, she responded to more than a thousand questions that were submitted to her by the republicans, which is unprecedented. she did it in the full spirit of bipartisanship and respect. now i hope we can respect her. the time has come for this committee to vote on this highly qualified nominee and to move gina's nomination to the full senate to begin at the meeting has been delayed for four weeks and now we must move forward and looks as if we are going to do that. so i am most grateful for that. we will bring the epa one step closer getting what it means to accomplish the mission in a common sense bipartisan way. and i would like to call on the senator for his opening statement and again, as soon as we can we will then vote. it looks like senator lautenberg and senator guilherme and are joining us and we are absolutely thrilled to have them here. >> great. thank you madam chairman.
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i am very happy to be here, particularly because we are finally making real progress on 55 ki transparency requests that have been the focus of the republican members' concerns about this nomination process. and again from the very beginning we have made it very clear our key focus has been these five key transparency requests and for good reason. i think it is very clear that the epa has had a pretty dismal transparency record with email of uses, completely contrary to the federal law and practice with a policy that regularly frustrates public access to information and doesn't probably allowing it with a lack of transparency of producing e-mails. and when they are produced, they are extremely heavily redacted.
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.. there's been meaningful progress in term of r5 key transparency request. and that's why we're here today to robing nice that -- recognize that progress and urge additional progress. in response to the progress made as of last night, i'm sending a letter today to the acting
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administrator, bob, and to gina. i want to read relevant part of the letter. dear acting administrator and assistant administrator, thank you for the letter of yesterday committing two significant steps forward with regard to all five of the transparency requests of the senate e p-3 republicans. because these steps forward are significant, we want to thank you and acknowledge progress including by moving forward with the committee markup of gina's nomination. because these steps forward are limited, and do not include everything required under the law, we want to request additional progress as outlined below. should major additional progress be made in all of the five categories over the next two weeks,ly i will strongly support handling the mccarthy nomination on the senate floor without a cloture vote or a
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60-vote threshold. should all of the requests in the five category be granted, i will support the mccarthy nomination. in this letter, i outline each of these five categories where we are and where we would like to go. i conclude, i believe the above outlines a productive path forward. i hope you concur by agreeing to travel down. sincerely, david vitter. i think that very much incorporates where we are in our side, particularly where i'm coming from and hope we go in term of a productive path forward. and with that, miami chairman, i would like a consent to part of the record. >> without objection. let me say we're going to move to a vote. we welcome all of our colleagues. i have to say my colleague from new jersey, it is a joyful experience to see your beautiful face here.
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all of us feel that. believe me, all of us do. i didn't agree with the agency the way it was run or anything else. i never took it out on a nominee who has yet to have an opportunity to go her job. she's qualified. she's decent. we have voted for her unanimously. i feel bad for gina mccarthy right now. she's still being hung up with threat, if i don't like the answer i will, i won't, mighting with filibuster or not i would urge my colleagues put aside the
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filibuster. if you don't like the epa, you obviously don't. the american people do, if you look at l polls, it's one of the most respected agencies. they love it 70 or 80%. it's your vote to vote no. please treat her well. >> madam chair . >> we're not going to do that. >> directly respond to my letter and in fact -- . >> i did. >> a and things unproven. >> can you hold your remarking until after you vote. there are certain senators. i will listen to you for hours after we vote. believe me. i move the nomination be reported favor tbloi the senate. do i have a second. all those in favor say aye. roll call vote. >> i ask for a roll call vote.
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>> david, of course you can. of course we will. of course we want to. let me get through this. in the opinion of the chairs, the aye have it and the nomination will be reported if there's a flairvel vote as we do the roll call. would you commence the roll call, please. [roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote] [roll call vote]
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[roll call vote] [laughter] [roll call vote] would you repeat that louder, please. -- [inaudible] if. >> thank you very much. we will move forward. and now we will hear from senator vitter who wishes to respond. i have to say, we pete that the aye were 10. the nay was eight. the nomination is reported to the senate. i appreciate the attention of everybody here. senator vitter, your response. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to respond with a few points. first of all, i want to underscore from the very beginning -- you know this gina mccarthy knows this, epa knows
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this. everybody knows this. from the very beginning the key focus were the five transparency ask. we're not asking for the epa to i think which the policy on any fundamental epa issues. we're asking for openness and transparency. four of these five asks are things that are clearly required under current law that we're trying to get out of them kicking and screaming. and one is very consistent with openness and transparency that they have the full capability and authority to do. and again, these are in the area of e-mail and policy. getting unredacted e-mails which due us. getting the underlying research data used to promulgate the major roles. having full economic analysis performed with regard to major rule makes as required by law, and executive order, and having
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openness and transparency to these subtle agreements. so that's the first point. we're not asking this epa to change its policy and views. we're asking for openness and transparency as required by law. secondly, you express shock and said you have never seen it before. well, in fact you have seen it before. you have participated in it in 2003 -- . >> never. don't say what i did. >> okay. you did see this and participate in 2003 with regard to the nomination of michael levin. in fact, that markup was originally scheduled and did not happen because no democrat on the committee participated, and that was postponed for two weeks. in fact in that situation, i think it's no further that michael levin wasn't a part of that current epa, he was a complete outsider in contrast to
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this situation where obviously gina mccarthy has a major position in this epa, and has had one for the last three and a half years. so i think those are all very important points, and i would end by saying i think my letter is very positive. i hold out a positive path forward so we can build on these beginnings of transparency. build on that. and have a positive outcome for the american people in terms of open pes and transparency. and have that reflected in the nomination process as it proceeds from here. so thank you. >> thank you. ii like positive. we'll go to senator baa cuss and senator wicker. >> thank you, ma'am chair. i think it's clear to me that gina mccarthy is exceptionally
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capable and talented person, and should be immediately confirmed to the position. based on her experience and other capacities at the state of massachusetts and other areas, just based on how good she is in listening to both sides of an issue. she is known as a person who wants to do the right thing. she's not -- she wants to implement good policy listening to all sides. that's gina mccarthy. frankly,ic we are very luckily to have minute of that caliber who wants to serve and work so hard in the difficult times and take on that role. and i just hope we very quickly confirm her, because you're not going to find anybody better than gina mccarthy. she's very good. >> senator wicker. >> thank you, ma'am chair. it seems to me we ought to be
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all smiles today. an impasse that occurred in the committee much as it did with secretary lev left. a path forward has been agreed to. to move this nomination to the next step, i think we ought to be celebrating that rather than expressing any negative feelings. we tried to make it clear on our side of this that our request have been for transparency that is needed for all decisions by epa. and it's critical to the taxpayers, the children, the burden for extensive regulation, our request have dealt with issues of openness and transparency only. and frankly, this shouldn't be a partisan issue as far as getting
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the information out. i'm sort of disappointed that the idea of the quest for underlining research data used to promise promulgate rules and cost-benefit analysis shouldn't be an issue at all. and so i'm glad that we have taken this step. i think we're on the path for further information to come forward and actually this milestone should be celebrated. i appreciate the chair and the ranking member working together to get us this far. i hope to get further. thank you. >> senator wicker, so do i. i can't celebrate a partisan vote. i loved what happened in the senate yesterday. we had 83 votes. when we get to the point where we have bipartisan, i will celebrate. i will. and i will take everyone out to lunch. but right now, i can't celebrate a partisan vote. i'm anxious to promote this
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woman, i think she's so qualified, but hopefully we will work together and we will have a moment when we truly can celebrate. it wasn't celebration to see, senator watten berg. i must say that. >> senator carper. >> i want to concur with senator wicker. it's a glass half full moment. i think we would like to have it move forward and sooner. but -- [inaudible] my closest friends of governor. eventually we -- overwhelmingly and confirmed on the floor overwhelmingly. and that's a good precedent. my hope is that the good dialogue that is entertained between senator visitor and bob
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has -- [inaudible] give her the vote that we gave mike levin. >> thank you again, everyone for coming. david i look forward to working with you so we can move the nomination forward. >> can i just -- . >> i want to thank and the chair. and our staff. your staff for the way you let us -- lead us on not an easy issue. i think it was a great moment for the senate. thank you. >> thank you. all right. stand adjourned. displncht on the next washington journal, we'll discuss the irs targeted of conservative groups with republican representative from louisiana, chairman of the ways and means oversight subcommittee. we'll be joined by representative lewis, a california democrat to take your
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questions about implementation of the affordable care act later this year, and thursday's house vote to repeal it. washington journal is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. thursday senator ron wyden and lisa murkowski spoke? favor of president obama's nominee to be the next energy secretary. their remarking from the senate floor are twenty minutes. my friend and colleague is here. we will take a short amount of time to discuss the doctor's qualifications. and i wouldue colleagues on
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both sides of the aisle to support the nomination of dr. earnest to serve as the secretary of energy. in my view, the doctor is smart about energy policy. he is savvy about how the department of energy operates. he's solution-oriented, which is what democrats and republicans on the senate energy and natural resources saw when he was before the committee to consider his nomination. i'm going to talk about why i believe the doctor is well qualified to spare head our effort, to evolve our country's energy system, to increase domestic source, emit less carbon and bolster our economy. first, i would like to talk for a few minutes about the job that the doctor will be stepping in to once he is concerned.
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right now the energy department is at the center of issues that are hugely consequential to our economy and the environment. they are how to manage the newly assessable reserve of natural gas, combating climate change, and making our economy more efficient. and certainly front and center is how on a bipartisan approach we can support the department of new energy technology. i believe our country needs that kind of energy to transition to a lower carbon economy. and it's built on three pillars strong economic growth, shrinking our carbon footprint, and spurring energy innovation. what is unique about this moment, is now on the issue of energy, our country is truly in a position of strength.
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historically lawmakers avoided energy issues until there's a short-term crisis. usually that crisis is a spike in the price of gasoline. then, as we know there's a cry to pass a comprehensive energy bill. kind of put that in quotes, mr. president, and it ends up being, quote, comprehensive and still lasts a relatively short period of time, maybe a year and a half or two years until there's another cry to pass yet one more comprehensive bill. right now the congress and the executive banch, the energy department are in a rare position. a position where we can make policy at the time when our country does not face those kinds of short term calamity. i say that in no way minimizing the extraordinary challenge of climate change.
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that's in my view, mr. president, a potential cat fee -- catastrophe that demands real attention. it is something that cannot be ignored. on energying with however, the usual calculus has been flipped on the head. new technology unlocked potentially massive supply of natural gas, as well as new oil reserve. at the same time thanks to a combination of efficiency increase renewable power generation, and the rise of affordable natural gas supplies are carbon emissions actually sell. a decade ago no one dreamed of the fact. one of the most immediate issues is facing him is the question of how our country can maximize the benefit of unconventional shale gas. abunt
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advantage. the reality is all over the world, plptd, -- mr. presidents want our gas. they want what we have. our competitor in europe and asia who have costs that are four to five times high as the manufacturers. i think it's obvious it'sa national security advantage to be able to rely on our own energy resources instead of the sources that come from instable part of the world that certainly don't get up everyday wishing the united states well. i was encouraged by the commitment the doctor made to me to use the best most recent data to look at questions like how buildings, natural gas export terminal are going to effect the area adjacent to those facilities as well as the larger american economy. my experience working with him, i think he's more than up to the big challenges our country faces as we deal with this historic
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transition in our energy sector. he knows how the department works from the inside, and he knows that because he actually has experience there. the background as a well-respected -- he's going to use the best and brightest considering the key policy issue. he's going take an independent data-driven approach as a professor of m. i. t. and director of the energy initiative. there they lead numerous cutting edge study on a range of energy issues. mr. president, in one sense, the department of energy ought to be called the department of innovation. one of the bright lights there is the advance research project agency what is called producing major breakthrough in energy
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technology. authorized in 2005 and it was doctor's predecessor secretary steven chu who oversaw the first project there, and to his credit he was an important champion for that agency and early days. one of the dozen effort supported. the project at the university of north dakota that aims to reduce water usage of power plants. according to the department of energy, the university is testing an ab or so e fecialt power protection with minimal water loss. i think it would be fair to say you can put together an impressive filibuster if you want to describe the various type of research going on or research funded by the department. leading research and a number of areas that our country needs to
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continue to work on if we are to achieve the objective i have staked out, that is to secure a lower carbon economy. energy e fresh sei, the lowest cost way to reduce energy use and cut emission is going to be a big part of the department's mission in the next four years. our committee is moving ahmed this that area. starting with yet another bipartisan bill. the legislation that in my view, is really the standard barer now for energy efficient legislation. the committee broad bipartisan support. i hope it will come to the floor of the united states senate very soon. the department is also doing important work on carbon capture and sequestration. trapping emission from positive l fuel operation storing them underground to reduce the impact to our plant. the chair of our public lands
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mining subcommittee my friend senator machin has a great interest in this there particular area. he said it's an area that deserves a significant amount of attention. doe research showed that natural grass and renewable aren't exclusive. the country doesn't have to choose between the two. in fact, natural gas plants, in my view, make great partners for intermittent renewable like wind and solar because they can fire up and power down quickly. that's an important part of our future energy agenda. we want to have more wind and solar. we know they are intermittent sources. some of the challenges in the senate knowings is about how to find innovative approaches to storage and look at natural gas to help us get wind and solar in to our base load power structure. so this is an important issue
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with renewable. also benefiting a natural gas, the energy department's pacific northwest lab across the river from oregon is going to soon test a project to use solar energy to make natural gas plants 0% for efficient. now, i'm not going pretended to know everything about engineering. i think it's wort noting that "the new york times" said earlier this month, the idea would use concentrated solar ray to heat natural gas and water to about 1300 degrees fahrenheit and break open the natural gas and water molecule. the result is synthetic gas which burns more efficient sei than natural gas alone. it would give you more energy for every molecule of gas burns. which means lower cost and reduce the greenhouse gas emission.
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it's of many project the department is backing. we're not sure which are ultimately going pan out. the potential for breakthrough like the one i have described are exactly why it's so important to the energy department to have a broad research portfolio. our country's competitors are sitting back and waiting for our country to do all of the world's innovation. china, germany, and others are pouring resource to the r&d to try to get an advantage and the fact that we have our energy department on the frontline in the fight to show the world how to innovate as a huge american asset. finally, a significant portion of the energy department budget goes to an office that is described as environmental management in which essentially means cleaning up america's ray owe active nuclear waste. there are 17 active sites that the department is currently cleaning up including the site in southeastern washington.
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whistle blower in independent watchdog like the defense nuclear facility safety board identified troubling problem with how waste is stored including the potential for it to build up and explode. they flagged ongoing design issues with the facility that will treat the site's nuclear waste. another matter that the department of energy must solve. people who live near there depend on the river receive some welcome ashiewrns from doctor -- assurance from the doctor at the hearing that senator murkowski and brought some of the these issues up in where the doctor said that the status quo with the department of energy is not acceptable. i look forward to working with them on the long-term solution. finally, mr. president, i think it is fair to say that the doctor and the appropriate to close with this, has a long track record of collaboration.
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that's why i mentioned early on he showed his conformation hearing showed democrats and republicans alike that he is solution-oriented and collaborative on the difficult questions that are ahead. he brings that scientific credibility that i outlined with real world policy experience that is so important to managing a major federal agency. mr. president, based on the bipartisan support of my colleague both sides of the aisle impressed for the doctor in a usually gridlocked congress, i feel like c-span almost ought to put out a warning to viewers not to just the television. it's how the united states senate ought to be working. one of the reasons we had the bipartisan approach on energy issues that i've been discussing and demonstrating against this mortgage in the energy committee my friend and colleague senator mor cow sky consistently meets me at least half way often more
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on the big issues. i want to thank her for that cooperation. and many other matters, mr. president, i look forward to senator murkowski's comments. i see other colleagues here may wish to speak at this time. i yield the floor. ..
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>> which i think is really reid negative relatively enthusiastic about this nomination. i would like to thank our chairman, and the chairman of energy and natural resources, our friend for his leadership to levant's the nomination to the finish line nassau and recognize and thank the members of our committee for the thoughtful questions when we had the doctor before the committee it was perhaps one of the smoother confirmation hearings we have had in quite some time and i also think the senate for working with us so we can fulfil our constitutional